L.A. County to Reassess Outdoor Dining Ban After Uproar from Celebrity Chefs and Restaurant Owners
A Los Angeles judge has ruled that L.A. County's outdoor dining ban will be limited to three weeks as planned, and then must be reassessed by the health department before the ban can be extended.
On Tuesday, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge James Chalfant said that the county "acted arbitrarily" and "failed to perform the required risk-benefit analysis" when it banned outdoor dining beginning Nov. 25, according to ABC7 and KTLA.
California is currently under a state regional stay-at-home order, which also includes a ban on in-person dining, so L.A. County restaurants likely will not be able to offer outdoor dining until at least Dec. 27. But per Judge Chalfant's new ruling, the county can only extend the ban beyond that "after conducting an appropriate risk-benefit analysis," ABC7 reported.
Restaurants, as well as breweries, wineries and bars, have been limited to only takeout and delivery — a restriction that has not been in place in Los Angeles since May.
After the ban on outdoor dining in L.A. was put into effect on Nov. 25, many celebrities aired their grievances on social media.
Celebrity chef Ludo Lefebvre shared a video on Instagram of employees at his Los Angeles restaurant, Petit Trois, speaking out about how the closure will cripple them financially.
"Stop the closure," he captioned the video. "This is for you @[email protected] @sheilakuehl – we thought you might want to hear our employees speak. You are not protecting them, you are shutting down their livelihoods. Taking away the only means they have to support themselves and their families."
"HEAR the single mom, HEAR the dad of 3, HEAR the people with no life line," Lefebvre, 49, added. "@mayorofla @ericgarcetti sign the emergency resolution put forward by @mrodcd7 NOW – STOP THE CLOSURE. Independent restaurants are one of the single largest employer groups in this city. This is the final nail in the coffin of so many, the hammer is your hand!! Outdoor dining is NOT the problem and your colleagues know it."
Lefebvre received support in the comments section of his post, including from Gwyneth Paltrow who commented, "AGREE."
Nancy Silverton of Osteria Mozza reposted a message from the Independent Hospitality Coalition pleading with county supervisors to remove the ban on outdoor dining.
"If no outdoor dining is allowed throughout Los Angeles County for the next three weeks, we expect the County to step up and make sure that small businesses and their employees are supported during these hard times. Without jobs, money, and support from the county, it will be a very cold winter indeed," the statement read in part.
The United States is currently struggling to contain the overwhelming surge of COVID-19 cases across the country. As of Wednesday, Dec. 9, there are over 15 million confirmed cases of coronavirus in the U.S., while at least 286,400 people have died, according to The New York Times database.
Los Angeles is specifically seeing a sharp rise of cases: the county's public health website has reported over 466,321 cases in total since the pandemic began, 8,547 of which are considered "new cases."
As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. To help provide doctors and nurses on the front lines with life-saving medical resources, donate to Direct Relief here.
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